This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
By William Arruda & Kirsten Dixson
Info next No 40.04
Welcome to the Me Millennium.
YOU’Re BeInG GOOGLeD.
People are Googling you. People who matter: Hiring Managers. executive Recruiters.
Colleagues Clients. Business Partners. In fact, someone might be Googling you right now!
PAPeR IS PASt. tHe InteRnet IS PReSent…AnD FUtURe.
the Web has replaced traditional research resources and is often the frst place we go for
information, putting the phone book and the reference librarian on the endangered list.
the Internet has impacted not only the way we do our jobs, but also the way that we look
for jobs, network and manage our careers.
the World Wide Web is an indispensable tool for communicating your value as a professional,
expressing your differentiation, networking and performing career research. not only will you
be researching opportunities online, others will be researching you.
“82% of candidates expect recruiters to look them
up on line.”– BusinessWeek, June 26, 2006
PeRSOnAL GOOGLInG IS tHe neW ReFeRenCe CHeCK.
It’s no secret that Google is the world’s leading Internet search tool. It’s used over 200 million times
a day by people in virtually every country in the world. And, it’s not just used to research companies.
It’s today’s best resource for getting the untold story about people.
As personal branding strategists, we are intrigued by the power of this new phenomenon.
the ramifcations of being Googled are widespread when it comes to building and managing your
personal brand. Being Googled reveals how visible you are on the Web, and visibility is critical
to successful career management—regardless of where you are in your career or your business.
Your Google results become useful for those who are looking to make decisions about you.
So the prospect of being Googled brings up some interesting questions:
? Whatdoesitsayaboutyouifyoudon’tshowupinGoogle? Quantitatively speaking,
you are somebody if your Google results cover multiple pages. You are a really unknown
brand, however, if Google can’t fnd you, or worse, if it fnds your name only in a list of obituaries.
So if you don’t show up in Google, will you be dismissed?
After all, Google provides a much more objective view than those whom you select to be
references for you. Will your Google results be the determining factor in whether you get in
to see a new client or are considered for a new job?
? WillbeingGoogledchangethewaywenameourkids? Having a common name can be
a challenge when seeking an accurate Google assessment. You know this all too well if your name
is John Smith. Google doesn’t discern between John Smith, the upstanding CeO of Acme, Inc.,
and John Smith, the serial killer who escaped from prison and is on the run. Just as the trend in
company and product naming has moved to creating names for originality and to ensure domain
name availability (think Altria, Yahoo! and Avaya), will parents in the future be creating one-of-
a-kind names for their children to ensure accurate Google results?
We don’t have all the answers to these questions. But we are fascinated with ‘personal Googling’
and all that it means for our career-focused clients, not to mention our own personal brands.
And we focus all our professional energies on helping professionals make the most of the Web.
IF YOU DOn’t SHOW UP In GOOGLe, YOU DOn’t exISt.
A recent Harris Interactive poll showed that 23% of people search the names of business associates
or colleagues on the Internet before meeting them; and 83% of executive recruiters are using
search engines to uncover information about candidates according to a 2007 survey by execunet.
there are classes for HR professionals about Googling candidates, and profles on sites like
Friendster, LinkedIn and ZoomInfo are even being reviewed in the recruiting process.
In fact, 20% of the Fortune 500 seeking candidates are using ZoomInfo, a unique service that
automatically creates profles from aggregated professional information found online.
If you are meeting with a customer, applying for a new job inside or outside your company
or running for a board position, you can count on being Googled. Impressions will be
made based on what is found.
Personal Googling v. the act of learning about
someone by performing a Web search.
DeteRMIne YOUR GQ (GOOGLe QUOtIent).
Accenture included the total number of relevant Google results as one of the three measures they
used to develop their list of the World’s top 50 Most Infuential Leaders.
Right now, open a new browser window, go to Google.com, type your name into the search box and
see what the world’s most popular search engine says about you. Surprised? Delighted? Depressed?
TIP: Type your name in quotes (like this: “William Arruda”) so you will get the most accurate results.
to determine your baseline Google Quotient (GQ) use our complimentary Online ID Calculator™
Once you have used our Online ID Calculator,™ you will have a better understanding of where your
results lie on the digital scale. to look into it a little deeper, refer to this four-box model which
describes potential scenarios for your online identity.
the Y axis deals with the volume of information about you on the
Web. the x axis describes the relevance of the information to
your personal brand. Looking at your Google results, ask yourself:
Does it say what you want it to say? Is it consistent? Is it easy
for someone to understand what you stand for? What separates
you from your peers?
DeCIDe WHetHeR YOU’Re DIGItALLY DISAStROUS
OR DIGItALLY DIStInCt.
What’s your number of relevant results? Are the results communicating your personal brand—
your unique promise of value? With your Online ID Calculator score, you know where your current
online profle stands.
there is absolutely
nothing about you on
the Web. It doesn’t
mean you don’t exist,
but it means that you
remain hidden from
those who may be
researching you. this
is easy to remedy.
there is little on
the Web about you,
and what is there
is either negative or
how you want to be
just a small number
of on-brand entries
will help you improve
your digital identity.
there is a lot of
you on the Web,
but it has little
relevance to what
you want to express
about yourself. It
will take a concerted
effort to augment
these results with
enough highly ranked,
to ensure that
your personal brand
is being clearly
there is already
information on the
Web about you.
Although the volume
of results is not
high, the material
that is there is
relevant and consis-
tent with your
this is a great start.
this is nirvana in
the world of online
there are lots of
results about you
and most, if not all,
Bravo! But don’t rest
on your laurels,
your Google results
can change as
fast as the weather
in new england.
Understanding your baseline online identity is important even if it’s not where you want it to be.
Wherever you are on the scale, you can always improve. the dynamic nature of the Web affords
an incredible opportunity to have the online profle you need to express your personal brand and
reach your goals.
tAKe tHe ROAD tO DIGItAL DIStInCtIOn.
Digital Dirt is negative, unfattering or inappropriate information about you that is easily found
online. In the same execunet survey we referenced earlier, 45% of recruiters eliminate candidates
based on what they fnd in search engines. So, if you do have digital dirt, you’ll have to clean up
your virtual act.
Perhaps what Google reveals does not convey the image you want to share with the world.
that was the case for Susan, a marketing executive who had been fred by the board of her company.
the meeting minutes detailing her fring were posted on the Web and when anyone performed a
Google search using her name, the frst item displayed was the summary of those meeting minutes.
She didn’t understand why she couldn’t get any job interviews until an executive recruiter told her
about her Google results. Prior to that, she had no idea she had been digitally dissed.
the moral of the story: Google yourself. It’s called self-googling, narcissurfng or ego-surfng—
and you should be doing it regularly. to those who don’t know you personally, you are your Google
results. Knowing what Google says about you is important; and infuencing what Google reveals
is essential. According to BusinessWeek, 33% of job candidates have never ego-surfed. Maybe some
of them are having the same experience as Susan.
TIP: Google yourself every Monday morning, and keep track of the changes to your Google results.
If you do discover that you have digital dirt on Web pages that you cannot edit, you have two options:
vacuum it up or sweep it under the rug. You can request that the site owner take down the offending
information, or you can create highly ranking, on-brand entries that will push the negative ones
to page 32 of your Google results. People who are really digging will still be able to fnd this informa-
tion, but most will not take the time to go past page three. If your reputation is damaged by
an article that appears in a major, high-ranking publication, both of these options will be difcult,
and you may need to call in the experts.
BeGIn WItH YOUR BRAnD.
“The [past] 10 years have seen everything from the rise of online Job Boards
to the Brand Called You, the birth of blogs to offshoring. All of these
developments have had a signifcant impact on the way we manage our careers—
and the next 10 years promise to be just as dramatic.” Fast Company, March 2006
Before you start expressing yourself online, you need to know what you want to say. So you must
frst gain clarity about your personal brand. An online identity that makes you look like Mr. or
Ms. Multiple Personality is going to work against you. People need to know who you are, what you
stand for and what makes you stand out. Success in the new world of work requires that you
differentiate yourself from myriad others who seemingly do what you do. You need to understand
and express your unique value. therefore, before you embark on an online identity, you need
to extract your personal brand. this will help you understand your goals, strengths and what will
make you compelling to those you want to infuence.
So that you don’t confuse people who are Googling you, here are four steps to get started
1. Read Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand (Wiley, June 2007), and use the
360°Reach tool (you get free access to this leading personal brand assessment with instructions
in book) to get the clearest understanding of your current reputation.
2. See where your brand stands today with this quick quiz.
3. Describe your own brand with this complimentary personal profler.
4. Watch this comprehensive introduction to personal branding.
Get other resources to support your branding at www.reachbrandingclub.com.
And, if you are currently in job search mode, go to www.reachbrandingclub.com/jobsearch
The new century is defned by fusion,
in which consumers fuse a dizzying array
of disparate choices.
Be VIRtUALLY VISIBLe.
Real estate is one of the best investments you can make in the real world. Virtual estate is just as
important an investment in your career. Once you have a clear understanding of your personal
brand (and you have documented your personal brand statement), you can get to work on building
a powerful online profle. Here’s a checklist to help you get started:
> Perform a baseline Google assessment using our Online ID Caclulator. Are you Digitally Dissed?
Dabbling? Disastrous? Or are you Distinct?
> Buy your domain name—e.g., www.kirstendixson.com (you can get one at godaddy.com
> Decide which tools you are going to use to build your brand online. Your own website or blog
will give you the most control over your brand, and your Reach-Certifed Online Identity
Strategist can help you decide the best approach for your goals and connect you with the other
professionals you’ll need.
> Call in the professionals. this includes: a photographer for your head shot; a talented designer
for your website or Blog; a programmer who can make sure your site will display well in all
major browsers on both Mac and PC; a ghost writer or editor for your copy; a career/personal
brand strategist to help with positioning; and a search engine optimization expert to help you
get high rankings.
> Get going right away. those who start now will be ahead of the pack. According to a Jobster
April 2007 survey, 20% of executives have taken proactive steps to create a positive Web presence.
> Don’t stop. As William’s coach always says, you must work on this “ongoingly.”
Just as a real estate agent will help you fnd the right investment, when you are ready to fnd your
own place on the World Wide Web, consult the pros. A low-quality website is worse for your
brand than no website at all. Unless you are Web designer or online identity expert, get experienced
support to send the right message. Here’s some criteria to help you choose the right partner:
> ensure the company has a team of individuals skilled in personal branding, career management,
design, writing and Web technologies.
> Ask to see examples of sites using each of the technologies you are considering. Any service
worth its salt should offer audio, video, Flash, blogs, podcasts, screencasts, optimized PDFs, etc.
> ensure that your provider understands Web usability rules and tests your site.
> Avoid any service that suggests having audio that automatically plays when your home page
loads. they clearly have no clue about job-search etiquette.
> Remember, technology for technology’s sake is pointless. When it comes to video, no one wants
to watch a talking head hyping a site or bragging about herself.
> Ask if they provide SeO services to better position you in search engines. Basic tactics are often
all you will need. If they guarantee a #1 listing in search engines, be wary.
“Promoting yourself online is the best, easiest,
fastest way to build your personal brand.”–Boris Mann,
Web 2.0 and Personal Brand Development
Having your own Website or blog is just one tool in your online ID toolkit. You will also you also
want to add to your virtual estate portfolio. We call these tools the Six Ps of Online ID:
1 Publishing | Write articles or whitepapers, and get them published on websites that are
relevant to your target audience. Conduct research to determine guidelines and editorial calendars.
You can also post articles to article banks for online syndication.
2 Posting | Write reviews of relevant books at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. If cooking
isn’t a part of your day job, don’t write a cookbook review because it could confuse your brand.
3 Pontifcating | Post thoughtful, on-brand comments to blogs that are relevant to your area of
expertise. Be sure to proofread your comments because you can’t edit them once they are posted.
You can link your comments back to your blog or Website which also gives you a valuable inbound
link, especially if the blog on which you are commenting is popular. Be careful not to keep popping
up everywhere too frequently, though. People might conclude that you have nothing better to do
with your time.
4 Publicizing | Write press releases, and post them to sites like prweb.com and prnewswire.com.
5 Partnering | this is all about networking, and you will need to give before you receive. We call
this Career Karma. Get other people to write about you in their articles and blogs and leverage online
social networking sites like LinkedIn, ecademy, Facebook, MySpace, and Youtube.
6 Profling | Use Web profle services to create or expand your online identity quickly with a basic
listing that is template-based. Resources include Ziggs, ZoomInfo, naymz, Ziki and ClaimID. You can
also use LinkedIn for this purpose if you choose to make your profle public.
KnOW tHe DOS AnD DOn’tS OF BUILDInG YOUR OnLIne IDentItY.
As with other valuable tools for managing your career, you must follow the proven rules to gain the
most from your efforts. Here’s some of our guidance to help you make the most of the Web:
1 Takeastand. Strong brands have something to say, and they say it with passion and conviction.
If you build a me-too site, no one is going to pay attention. the goal is to stand out—not to blend in.
2 Steerclearofdirt. Avoid visiting and commenting at sites that contain questionable material.
Don’t build an online identity that could come back to haunt you.
3 Goforqualityoverquantity. If you can only invest a small amount of money and time in your
own Website, go for fewer pages with quality images, stellar copy and easy navigation. It’s OK to
leave them wanting more, just don’t turn them off.
4 Makethelink. ensure that all of your postings, articles, comments, reviews, etc. point back to
your Website with your contact details. Don’t forget your call to action!
5 Builditovertime. If you write and e-publish one article every other month, you will have six by
the end of the year. Again, shoot for quality.
6 Beconsistent. to build a solid reputation, you must be known for something, not a hundred
things. So build your online identity around who you are and what makes you relevant and
compelling to those people who need to know about you. Don’t try to be all things to all people.
7 Watchyourmouth. Be careful about what you put in your blog. Badmouthing your current
employer or revealing corporate information could get you sacked.
1 Callintheprofessionals. If you don’t have the skills to build a quality Website or blog,
get someone who can.
2 Leadwithyourstrengths. Use your creativity, understanding of your subject area,
communications skills, etc. to showcase your true professional prowess.
3 Show‘emyourmug. Get a professionally taken photograph that exudes your brand.
Don’t use a picture that your mother took of you fve years ago at the family picnic.
A high-quality head shot will speak volumes about your brand.
these days, when the avearge job only lasts 3.5 years, you will be Googled frequently in the recruit-
ment process. And if you are an entrepreneur, people are expecting you to have a professional
online identity. In a world that is becoming more and more virtual, your online identity is becoming
a key element in your personal branding plan. When you make a steadfast effort to expand your
online presence, increasing your visibility and credibility, you’ll be on a direct route to digital distinc-
tion. the time to start is now!
“An industry will soon evolve to help you manage
that public persona–optimizing your Google
search, giving you control over your digitized public
William Arruda is a brand strategist, public speaker and author. In addition to twenty years’ corporate
branding, William is the founder of Reach, the global leader in personal branding. Kirsten Dixson is
an authority on building credible online identities for career and business success. She founded Brandego®
and is a partner in Reach, where she established an online identity certifcation program for career
management professionals. She delivers keynote presentations and serves as a media resource on career
technology topics. this manifesto was adapted from William and Kirsten’s book, Career Distinction:
Stand Out by Building Your Brand (Wiley, June 2007).
Pass along a copy of this manifesto to others.
Sign up for our free e-newsletter to learn about our latest manifestos as soon as they are available.
this document was created on november 7, 2007 and is based on the best information available at that time.
Check here for updates.
Get more details
or buy a copy
of Arruda & Dixson’s
Changethis is a vehicle, not a publisher.
We make it easy for big ideas to spread.
While the authors we work with are
responsible for their own work, they don’t
necessarily agree with everything
available in Changethis format. But you
knew that already.
Changethis is supported by the love and
tender care of 800-CeO-ReAD. Visit us
at 800-CeO-ReAD or at our daily blog.
the copyright of this work belongs
to the author, who is solely responsible
for the content.
this work is licensed under the Creative
noDerivs License. to view a copy of this
license, visit Creative Commons or send a
letter to Creative Commons, 559 nathan
Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
You are given the unlimited right to
print this manifesto and to distribute it
electronically (via email, your website,
or any other means). You can print out
pages and put them in your favorite
coffee shop’s windows or your doctor’s
waiting room. You can transcribe the
author’s words onto the sidewalk, or you
can hand out copies to everyone you
meet. You may not alter this manifesto
in any way, though, and you may not
charge for it.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.